Tonka Bean


A tropical south american tree (dipteryx odorata) in the pea household, having pulpy, egg-shaped, one-seeded pods with aromatic seeds including coumarin.

The seed of this tree, formerly widely used as a flavoring for food or tobacco. Extracts from tonka beans have been banned as food additives in the united states. (1 )


Tonka bean is a tree. The fruit and seed are used to make medication.

Despite major safety concerns, people take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac); and to treat cramps, queasiness, cough, convulsions, tuberculosis, wasting due to persistent illness, swelling triggered by a clog in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic disease called schistosomiasis.

Some individuals use tonka bean directly to the affected area for mouth ulcers, earache, and aching throat.

In manufacturing, coumarin, among the active constituents of tonka bean, is used as a flavoring and scent in various items in food, alcohol, tobacco, soap, and cosmetics.

In foods, the seeds are utilized to make a nutty-flavored drink. (2 ).


An exotic seed

The tonka bean pertains to us from south america and more especially from venezuela, brazil and guyana. It is the fruit of a tropical tree with a complicated name: the (dipteryx odorata willd), also frequently called coumaru or teak. This tree can grow up to 30 meters high and grows generally in the tropical forests of south america, however it is now also cultivated in nigeria. Tonka beans are really the seeds of the fruit that grows on this tree. These fruits look like big almonds and contain an unique and precious shiny black seed, which is usually 4cm long. Depending on the environment, a tree can produce between 15 and 75kg of fruit each year. (3 ).


There are no well-controlled research studies describing the pharmacologic impacts of tonka beans or their parts. Coumarin is toxic when ingested in high doses.

Synthetic coumarin has actually been developed to replace the natural product sometimes. Warfarin (eg, coumadin), a replaced coumarin, is a powerful anticoagulant utilized in human therapeutics and rodenticides. Substances separated from the tonka bean have actually been studied in cancer chemoprevention and for acaricidal activity. (4 ).

Advantages of tonka beans

Despite major safety issues, individuals take tonka bean as a tonic; to increase sexual desire (as an aphrodisiac); and to deal with cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, tuberculosis, wasting due to persistent illness, swelling triggered by a clog in the lymph system (lymphedema), and a parasitic illness called schistosomiasis. Listed below are usages and benefits of tonka beans in our every day life.

Pain relief

Coumarin, the main ingredient present in tonka bean is a deadly anticoagulant and has analgesic impacts in which it can give natural pain relief after surgery. It can also lower persistent neck and back pain, aching muscle discomfort and stress in the body. It is likewise being used as homeopathic pain killer in natural medicine.

Results in injuries

Tonka bean vital oil is not just reliable in pain relief however likewise used to heal swellings in sports, open injuries and deep cuts injury much faster naturally. It’s likewise a natural remedy for cleaning wounds and preventing minor infections in traditional medicine. Tonka bean essential oil also lowers inflammation of the skin.

If there’s a snake bite, the application of tonka bean extracted organic oil can bring little relief to the victim and avoid infections before taking the individual for treatment.

Blood pressure and stroke

Serotonin is a monoamine neurotransmitter which is typically discovered in blood platelets and serum, and assists in constricting the blood vessels. Therefore, it prevents blood loss, increase vascular resistance, control body temperature as heat is retained.

Given that it can control blood pressure, it avoids damages to the brain’s blood vessels, specifically rupture and constricting of the brain blood vessels which can obstruct the supply of blood to the arteries causing your brain- a fast trigger of stroke.


It prevents deep vein thrombosis naturally or the threat of embolism can be reduced with routine use of tonka bean extracts.

Additionally, individuals suffering from chronic atrial fibrillation can be given cumarin-containing medication. Thus, thrombi can be suppressed in the atrium of the heart and also reduces the danger of suffering a stroke.


Tonka bean is likewise aphrodisiac as the oil extracted from it can be used in cream and the smell can unexpectedly excite your lover and turn him or her on. The scent it produced in perfumes can make your spouse or other half enters into the state of mind naturally without drugs or perhaps love.

Bug and insect repellant

Coumarine present in tonka bean is understood to be repellant to bugs, mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and other insects. Because of the high coumarine worth in tonka bean, it can be extracted in your area to produce homemade bug spray for homes and for animals just like tea tree oil, peppermint, lavender oil and other natural bug’s repellants. Tonka bean important oil is not just a repulsive to bugs but also healthy on the skin when used.

It can be used to safeguard infants from mosquito bites and prevent ecto parasites on animals like pets, felines, horses and other domesticated mammals.

Cleansing the body

Tonka bean can likewise assist you in getting rid of germs from your body naturally and clean up the system from bacteria.

When the fragrance of the tonka bean oil in inhaled, it sets off the body to increase secretions and expel bacteria out of the body through mucous in the nose. This will also assist in getting rid of mucous from the lung passage, detox and clear it from mucous and cough, and also relieving you from asthma.

Tonka bean essential oil is much reliable when dealing with queasiness, cough, spasms, tuberculosis, schistosomiasis, asthma and earache. But it needs to just be used as advised by physician and you ought to notify your medical professional before any application of this medication.

Results on the brain

Tonka bean has peaceful effect on the brain. The herbs can help enhancing your mood, making you feel relaxed and pleased when you’re fretted. Likewise, it assists curing excessive sleep (insomnia) and positively impacts the intestinal system.


Tonka bean can be drawn out, and a little mix of it with nutmeg can be contributed to a smoking mix to clean the lungs for cigarette smokers.

Little bit of tonka bean is rubbed off with the nutmeg grater and added to a smoking cigarettes mixture. The vanilla aroma and almond fragrance along with a spicy note are especially effective.

Skin health

Tonka bean is not just used in preventing excessive heat loss from the skin or minimizing swelling and sensation of pain in the skin, it is likewise antiseptic and used in bath soap to get rid of germs from the external body.

Healthy hair

It can likewise be used on the hair to eliminate scalp inflections and inflammations. It also used in cosmetics market to produce hair shampoo and hair oil to secure the scalp and avoid hair loss as a result of infections.

Fragrant candle lights

Tonka bean is also drawn out and used in making aromatic candle lights because of the good odor that can make your room actually appealing to visitors and loved ones. As the candle light melts, the fragrance spreads throughout the whole room, creating a relaxing, and romantic environment.

Conventional usages and advantages of tonka beans

  • The seeds can likewise be utilized in the treatment of stomach discomfort, cough, and dysentery.
  • Decoction, combined with the crushed whole plant of tonina fluviatilis, is utilized to prepare an infant fortifier.
  • They are considered to be anti-asthmatic, antispasmodic, cardio tonic and emmenagogue.
  • Decoction of the seed and sugar is used as a cold solution.
  • Oil from the seeds is utilized to minimize stomach aches, to treat sores in the mouth, to fortify the scalp and improve hair development.
  • It is stated to be reliable in controlling dysentery.
  • Cold water infusion of the leaves is used as an ear wash to deal with earache.
  • Leaves are crushed to make a snuff powder.
  • The seed includes coumarin, which is used in fragrance and for seasoning tobacco and whisky.
  • Extracts of the plant have actually been utilized in conventional medicine as a tonic and to treat cramps and nausea.
  • Seed extracts have actually been administered rectally for schistosomiasis in china.
  • Fluid extract has actually been used with benefit in whooping cough, but it paralyses the heart if utilized in large doses.
  • Crushed tonka beans instilled in a tea or any organic brew can help in treating a number of health issue, consisting of disorientation, anxiety, self-destructive habits and confusion.
  • It may likewise be used to liven up the body immune system.
  • Decoction prepared from the cumaru tree bark is utilized for dealing with fevers.
  • Seeds are sometimes distilled in rum and utilized topically for dealing with cuts, contusions, rheumatism and snake bites.
  • It is likewise utilized internally for treating coughs.
  • Fermented seeds are sometimes utilized in the form of a hair shampoo and likewise dropped inside the ears to treat earaches in addition to infections.
  • The bark of this tree is used to make a decoction and bathe people struggling with fever.
  • Brazilians make a cough tablet by balling up the crushed seed.
  • The plant is utilized in folk treatments for cacoethes, cancers, indurations, and tumors, particularly of the diaphragm, abdomen, liver, spleen, stomach, and uterus.
  • Tonka beans were as soon as widely used in medicine as a treatment for cramps, queasiness, cough, spasms, and tuberculosis.
  • Squashed tonka beans infused in tea remedy number of illness including anxiety and self-destructive habits.

Culinary uses

  • Coumarin-like flavoring can be extracted from the seed through a procedure of fermentation.
  • It has actually been used commercially as a vanilla replacement in flavoring a vast array of foods including baked goods, ice cream, cocoa etc.
  • . The pulp inside the seedpod is eaten raw.
  • Seed can be consumed after boiling to eliminate toxins. (5 )

Further more

Tonka beans in gastronomy

British chefs use tonka beans in mixed drink syrups and grate their shavings over pastries, while french culinary masters create tonka bean– infused ice creams and custards. The french are so obsessed with the taste of this bean that they even have a name for it: fièvre tonka, or “tonka fever.”.

Tonka bean utilized in perfumery

Everything began in 1793 when the cumaru fruit was first presented to the french individuals. This sensual, vanilla-esque scent is used in perfume because it both enhances the life time of the scent in addition to improves its diverse notes. It is also commonly utilized as a substitute for musk. Tonka beans are important to the chemical composition of guerlain’s renowned aroma, shalimar.

Tonka bean and shalimar perfume

While the structure of oriental perfumery lies in the pleasing, softly beguiling vanilla aroma of the tonka bean, its influence is not unique to this element. In fact, the warm effect of coumarin can be determined almost all over fragrance is created. The appeal of these beans, particularly in masculine and asian fragrances, lies in their complex, rich fragrance and their significant adhesive residential or commercial properties.

The universal appeal of this tasty bean can be seen (and inhaled) nearly everywhere in today’s vast marketplace. They are crucial components in different customer sectors concerning gastronomic scents and individual care items, that include: hair shampoos, creams, soaps, candles, cosmetics, bubble bath and incense. The tonka bean is a powerful fragrance active ingredient that is both versatile and timeless.

Tonka beans work best in spicy and sweet aromas including notes that are comparable. These consist of: clove, vanilla, heliotrope, bitter almonds and cinnamon. They likewise mix well with notes of patchouli, sandalwood, increased, lemon peel and lavender.

Fascinating facts about the tonka bean

The tonka bean is rumored to have magical properties.

In some cultures, the tonka bean is thought about an aphrodisiac, and is utilized as a “love-wishing bean.” It is likewise believed to have the power to summon both nerve and cash. Some pagan cultures believed that crushed tonka beans in natural tea improve the immune system, aid to ease anxiety, confusion and negativeness.

Tonka beans are a major source of coumarin

According to the bbc, this controversial component is stated to be the “most scrumptious ingredient you never heard of.” Coumarin can be discovered in cinnamon (cassia), tobacco, e-cigarettes, cosmetics, deodorants, hand soap, shower gels, and detergents.

The united states is the largest importer of tonka beans

Although legally banned in the united states given that 1954, it is perfectly legal to include coumarin to tobacco and cosmetics. The united states import these beans nearly exclusively for the tobacco industry.

The tonka bean has a powerful scent profile

Simply a sprinkle of shavings from this bean suffices to create a rich and memorable aroma. When used in cuisine, some chefs claim that a single tonka bean can taste as lots of as 80 dishes.

Tonka beans ought to not be consumed in large quantities

These beans can be extremely poisonous and even lethal. However, it is estimated that at least 30 whole tonka beans would need to be consumed in order to technique harmful levels, which is about the very same volume at which nutmeg and other daily spices are considered potentially poisonous.

Tonka beans have medical and aroma-therapeutic qualities

They are understood to promote relaxation, decrease stress and anxiety, ease tension and anxiety and improve the immune system. Tonka beans were as soon as extensively used in medicine as a treatment for cramps, nausea, cough, spasms, and tuberculosis.

Venezuela, brazil and columbia are the major producers of tonka beans

Harvesting these beans has created income for countless south american rural communities positioned within varied forest ecosystems. They work as a buffer when other tasks are scarce.

The tonka bean gets its name from the galibi language

Spoken in a location of french guyana, the word, tonka, stems from the galibi (carib) tongue, which is spoken in french guiana. The galibi word, tonquaor tonquin translates to bean. In another language of the very same region, tonka is also the name for the tree on which the seeds grow.

The tropical tree was initially cultivated for its beautiful purple flowers

Each cumaru tree includes only one tonka bean. Its bark is also referred to as brazilian teak. It is a significantly popular hardwood utilized for flooring in the united states. It has an extremely enticing natural color variation and is considered rather resilient.

90% of contemporary perfumes consist of coumarin

This reality can be easily determined by reviewing the list of ingredients found on perfume product packaging. Experts speculate that every other fragrance worldwide has more than 1% of coumarin. (6 ).

Adverse effects

Tonka bean is unsafe. It can trigger adverse effects such as queasiness, throwing up, diarrhea, lightheadedness, insomnia, and liver problems.

The us food and drug administration (fda) thinks about any food including tonka bean or tonka bean extract to be impure.

There isn’t sufficient details to know whether it is safe to use tonka bean straight to the skin. (7 ).

Why are Tonka beans illegal in the United States?

The response is basic, a minimum of to the food and drug administration: tonka beans are hazardous to your health. According to the fda, tonka beans contain a chemical referred to as coumarin. When consumed in excess, coumarin can trigger severe liver issues. As a result, back in the 1950s, the fda prohibited any ingredient including the chemical from intake in the u.s. With that, chefs were forced to eliminate the tonka bean from their meals.

Nevertheless, the atlantic recommends that the fda’s restriction on coumarin could be outdated, considered that it would take consuming about 30 whole beans for those coumarin levels to end up being seriously unsafe. Because one bean provides enough flavor for 80 dishes, it’s highly not likely that anyone casually consuming tonka beans would come across any medical concern. Still, the fda has remained stringent on its restriction, so much so that the administration even robbed alinea, a chicago dining establishment, in 2006 after rumors struck that tonka beans were used in its menu. (8 ).

Tonka bean ice cream


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 pinch sea salt
  • 1 tonka bean, plus extra for serving
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


  1. Location the milk and sea salt in a medium-sized pot. Grate the tonka bean utilizing a fine grater (a microplane works the very best for this) into the pot. Heat the milk over medium-high heat up until it is steaming but not boiling. Let the milk stand for 15 minutes to instill.
  2. 1 cup entire milk,1 pinch sea salt,1 tonka bean
  3. Blend the egg yolks and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Include a little of the warm milk to the egg yolks and stir it well to temper the eggs. (if you pour the eggs directly into the hot liquid you will end up with rushed eggs. Tempering them with a little of the hot milk helps avoid this.)
  4. 6 big egg yolks, 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  5. Gradually add the tempered eggs to the warm milk while stirring continuously. Location the pot on medium-low heat and stir it continuously up until it thickens. Eliminate the pot from the heat and stir in the heavy cream and vanilla.
  6. 2 cups heavy cream,1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  7. Strain the custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium-sized bowl. (this is to get out any little bits of eggs that may have scrambled on the bottom of your pot.)
  8. Place the bowl in your fridge and give it a stir every 10 minutes approximately till it is no longer hot, about a half hour. Once the custard has actually cooled cover the bowl firmly with cling wrap and leave it in your fridge until it is entirely cold, ideally over night.
  9. Freeze the custard in your ice cream maker according to the maker’s instructions.
  10. Grate a little extra tonka bean over top of the ice cream when you serve it.


Note: recipe time does not consist of the time it takes to chill or freeze the ice cream. (9 ).

Safety measure

Being an absolute oil it is very important that tonka bean is not ingested in any way. You ought to also check for skin sensitivity before using topically. Test on a small area of skin and wait a day or so to inspect if you have any allergic reactions, and constantly water down with a carrier oil.

Always keep out the reach of kids. Pregnant and breastfeeding females should not utilize this oil, neither should anyone being treated for a serious health condition without medical clearance. (10 ).


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